KE under fire in Karachi City Council over prolonged loadshedding

Published May 14, 2024
Amid peaceful environment, a member speaks at the City Council on Monday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Amid peaceful environment, a member speaks at the City Council on Monday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

• Opposition, treasury members unanimously adopt 13 resolutions
• Body formed to introduce public-private partnership in KMC-run hospitals

KARACHI: In a rare show of unity, treasury and opposition members of the City Council joined hands on Monday to condemn the K-Electric for carrying out prolonged loadshedding in the prevailing hot and humid weather and demand strict action against the utility for failing to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

In a congenial atmosphere, the City Council also adopted 12 others resolutions, including the one through which it formed a committee to introduce public-private partnership in health facilities being run by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).

Totally in contrast with what happened on previous occasions, the meeting of the City Council, held at the KMC head office with Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab in chair, did not witness any ruckus or protest by the opposition members, majority of the whom belonged to the Jammat-i-Islami.

At the outset, the house unanimously passed a resolution felicitating council member Hafiz Naeemur Rahman on being elected as the chief of the JI.

The mayor hoped that Hafiz Naeem would play his due role to take up the case of the city to every forum.

Thanking the mayor for unanimously adopting the resolution, the JI leaders said that a good tradition was set by the house.

Adopting separate resolutions unanimously, the house also congratulated Asif Ali Zardari for becoming civilian president of the country for the second time and Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari for being elected unopposed to the National Assembly and getting the status of the First Lady.

It was by and large a mutual appreciation session for the members from the both sides of the aisle as the JI members also congratulated the mayor for his appointment as the provincial government spokesman and PPP’s Najmi Alam for being appointed as an adviser to the chief minister.

PPP members also criticised the Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan, which has no representation in the City Council as the party had boycotted the local government elections.

JI member Qazi Sadaruddin recalled that his party and the PPP had a very good working relationship when JI’s Naimatullah Khan was the city mayor.

Speaking on the resolution against loadshedding, the members demanded strict action against the KE for failing to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

Members belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, who had brought portraits of party founder Imran Khan, also said that the KE was committing highhandedness with people. They stressed the need to formulate a master plan and effective policy to resolve the city’s problems.

The resolution on the KE said that as soon as the hot and humid weather started in the city, the power utility had increased loadshedding and started shutting down electricity in the areas exempted from loadshedding.

It said that the water supply to the city was also interrupted due to prolonged loadshedding, causing dual punishment to the citizens.

“The prolonged loadshedding during day and night hours has made life of people miserable, while tens of thousands of students of matriculation and other classes are facing severe difficulties due to lack of electricity at their examination centres,” it added.

“Citizens of Karachi are forced to buy most expensive electricity only from K-Electric and despite paying the full bill, they are suffering from the worst loadshedding of three to 18 hours every day,” it said, adding that on the pretext of non-payment of electricity bill and theft of electricity, the KE was punishing the citizens who paid their electricity bills on time.

The council demanded the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to take action against the KE to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

The members said that Nepra should provide cheap electricity to the citizens of Karachi. The members demanded that the KE top management should be summoned in the City Council to explain their position.

Through another resolution, a committee consisting of 12 members was formed for bringing improvement in the KMC-run hospitals under public-private partnership.

The council also approved a resolution to change the name of the children’s ward of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital to Waseela Jahan children ward.

The house was later adjourned to a date to be announced later.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2024

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